Gardasil vaccinations are effective against HPV so protect against many genital cancers in both males and females, including cervical cancer.
What is a Gardasil vaccination?
Gardasil vaccinations are effective against infection from four types of HPV (human papillomavirus), providing protection against many forms of cancer, particularly of the genitalia, and nine out of ten cervical cancers. In females, HPV can also cause cancer of the vagina, cervix, vulva, anus and part of the throat (oropharynx). In males, HPV can cause cancer of the penis, anus, and head and neck. Meanwhile, both sexes may contract genital warts from HPV.
The body reacts to the injection by making antibodies which will help the immune system fight HPV.
Who should get HPV vaccinations?
It is recommended for girls/ women between the ages of nine and 26, and, since 2019, boys too
– the HSE runs an in-school HPV vaccination programme.
The number of doses is dependent on age of the patient: for those aged between nine and 24 a single dose is typically recommended, while most people over 25 will need two doses six to 12 months apart.
Is the HPV vaccination dangerous?
While there may be rare side-effects, here are the facts. The HPV vaccination:
- is over 99 percent effective in preventing pre-cancerous lesions associated with HPV types 16 and 18 in young women.
- is 99 percent effective in preventing genital warts associated with HPV types 6 and 11
- gives some protection against infection from other HPV types, not included in the vaccine.
Earlier vaccination is better too: vaccination is less effective in females who have already been infected with one or more of the HPV types. However, Gardasil may not fully protect everyone, nor will it protect against diseases caused by other HPV types, or not caused by HPV. Gardasil does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it's important for women to continue routine cervical screenings. Gardasil does not treat cancer or genital warts.